Anticipating: New Zealand​

Anticipation: the eagerness associated with waiting for something to occur

I am visiting New Zealand in July 2018 for a maths education conference and will be extending my stay to do a whistlestop tour of both islands. My flights are paid for. It is the only opportunity I will ever get to go to New Zealand, so I have decided to do a planned tour rather than drive myself around. Flights are booked, the tour itinerary is set and paid for. Now all I have to do I think about what to pack and eagerly await the beginning of one of the biggest adventures I am ever likely to have.

New Zealand has a mysticism and majesty that draws people to it, helped of course by the scenery we’ve seen in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. Friends and family have raved about how dramatic and diverse the landscapes are.

But what I actually know about New Zealand is minimal. I imagine mountains, sheep, lots of green, islands and oceans. What I ‘know‘ is not very specific.

nz-map-regional

Image source: New Zealand Tourism http://www.tourism.org.nz/regions.html

So how do I anticipate something that I know so little about?

The places and activities on my itinerary are simply descriptive words at the moment. Rootling around in it and reading more about the places is my springboard to anticipation.

The anticipation … of knowing that this is the furthest East I have ever travelled

It’s my first ever visit to Australasia. It will also be the first time that I see (and hopefully touch) the Pacific Ocean.

The anticipation … of experiencing the “Home of Middle Earth”

NZ has been dubbed this since the Lord of the Rings movies were released in 2001. Will I see the majestic scenery with my own eyes? Visit the Hobbiton film set? I am looking forward to the photo opportunities there! I imagine that the shapes and colours will be fabulous.

The anticipation … of visiting the Southern Alps, in winter!

I’ve visited the Northern Alps and have seen mountains here in South Africa and Scotland. But I’ve heard there are peaks more than 3000m high, glacial valleys and fjords. I have always wanted to see a fjord, and have always thought that one day I would visit those in Norway. Now I will get to experience a fjord in a place I never expected to, on a boat trip around Milford Sound which Rudyard Kipling described as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’.

The anticipation … of a train journey on the TranzAlpine

When I was a child in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), we often took long train journeys from Bulawayo down to the South African coast or to Victoria Falls. Train journeys bring back happy memories of relaxing, family holidays.

I understand that in 4½ hours, the scenic TranzAlpine rail trip will take us on a 223.8-kilometre journey across the Southern Alps from the city of Christchurch to Greymouth on the West Coast. We will go through a number of tunnels and over four viaducts, one of which is the 73-metre high (yikes!) Staircase viaduct. Looking at photographs of the train crossing this viaduct makes me slightly anxious already! Do you see what I mean?

imageproxy_665EEDB3B2BF8F9E535D7E8C4A625442

Image source: Canterbury Tourism https://www.newzealand.com/int/rail/

The anticipation … of viewing volcanic and geothermal wonders

I’ve lived in Southern Africa or the UK my whole life. Both are stable in terms of volcanic activity, so I’ve never experienced the power of Mother Earth from this point of view. It will be exhilarating to see active volcanoes and landscapes formed by volcanoes when we visit Lake Taupo and Rotorua’s bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and natural hot springs. Will my nostrils be assaulted by the terrible smell of sulphur? Will I witness the clouds of steam that are part of the volcanic activity in this area?

 

The anticipation … of meeting real “Kiwis”

As descendants of the Mouri warriors, the Mouri members of the New Zealand “All Blacks” rugby team look frightening to me. I’m hoping to meet Mouri people who will dispel this personal myth. Like South Africans, I am assuming the New Zealanders (affectionately know as Kiwis) are a hardy bunch who love the outdoors. I’m looking forward to seeing if that’s the case.

The countdown begins

As each day passes and my departure gets closer, my anticipation builds. With 21 days to go, the countdown begins.

Debbie blog sign off 2018

I recently wrote about how inspired I was by Cathy at wander.essence. This post was written as a response to Cathy’s current “ANTICIPATION & PREPARATION” invitation for 21st June.

15 thoughts on “Anticipating: New Zealand​

  1. wanderessence1025 says:

    How exciting that you’re going to New Zealand, Debbie! You have so many things to look forward to: volcanic action, that train ride (it looks pretty scary to me!), the Mouri people, the Southern Alps and Middle Earth. Ever since I saw Lord of the Rings, I’ve dreamed of going to New Zealand. You will have a fabulous time. And it’s great it’s a business trip so you have your flight paid for. Fantastic!! I can’t wait to read all about it. I’ll link this up to my next anticipation/preparation post of June 22.

    By the way, do you prefer being called Debs or Debbie?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debs Stott 🌳 Everyday Delights says:

      Hello. Thanks for the lovely comments and for taking time to read the post. I am beginning to get very excited.
      I know what you mean about dreaming of going to NZ – I never thought I would, its so far and from South Africa, prohibitively expensive. But now I can – the universe is magical sometimes.
      I hope I will be able to write about it when I come back. I haven’t been able to write about my Namibian trip yet. Do you find a certain reluctance sometimes to wriring about it when you come back, or is that just me? Any ideas why it might happen?
      Thanks in advance for the link up, I shall keep an eye out for it.
      I prefer Debs, it has more joy to it!

      Like

      • wanderessence1025 says:

        I’m sure you’re very excited, Debs! I’m so glad the universe magically worked to help you get to this place.

        I’m very much looking forward to reading about this trip and your Namibian trip. I know exactly what you mean about being reluctant to write about a trip when you return. I also feel that same reluctance after my recent trip to the Four Corners. It seems I need some time to reflect, go through my pictures and journal, digest the entire experience. I’ve written a few posts already, but don’t feel I’m ready yet to capture the true essence of the journey. I think it takes some distance and time to see the experience in its entirety.

        Thanks again for participating in this invitation. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • frejatravels says:

        I used to lived in Christchurch NZ. Currently Christhchurch is not that pleasant to visit – after the earthquake in 2011 the whole city is still not recover yet. I visited last in Dec 2016 and felt very sad as it used to be very beautiful. If you have time, go to Akaroa, around 1,5 hrs drive it is very nice small town and you can swimming with the dolphin or just wander around. There is a cheese factory before you reach the town and also a French winery closeby.

        Queenstown is beautiful and one of my favourite city in the world. Franz Josep is good for hiking the glacier, other than that not much to do or see. however the drive from Queenstown to Franz Josef is nice with many waterfall along the way.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ali says:

    You have just made me want to take this trip. It sounds like a very varied itinerary. The train bridge looks incredible. I would like to visit Middle Earth too. There is a lovely post about this somewhere on Word Press – I remember it being a ‘Discover’ featured post when I joined in January.

    Liked by 1 person

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